One of the first things Jesus did when He started His ministry on earth was to choose 12 men to give His time and energy to disciple. He lived with them, laughed with them and taught them day by day through the various situations of life. “Every mature believer must be a disciple maker, aiding in the spiritual growth of those younger in the Lord, for this is the way the Church is built and continues on.”He intentionally invested His life in them, knowing that one day they would have to go and do the very same thing—teach what He had taught and bear witness to the truth.
And when the day came that He ascended to the Father and left the work in their hands, they went out and fulfilled the work He had entrusted to them.
This seems to be the manner in which the work of God continues through the generations. All throughout the Old Testament we see men of God discipling other people.
- For every Elijah there was an Elisha being trained up.
- For every Moses there was a Joshua ready to step up to the call.
- In the New Testament, Jesus continued this pattern.
The Apostle Paul knew the impact of personal discipleship from early on. You see, Paul may not have been accepted by the disciples if it were not for Barnabas taking him under his care and discipling him.
Paul the Disciple Maker
For more than a year, Barnabas invested his life into Paul as together they worked side by side teaching the church at Antioch.
Paul continued this pattern by discipling Timothy, pouring his years, tears and teaching into him. Now, as Paul’s days drew to a close, he reminds Timothy he must do the same:
And so it must be among us. Mature brothers and sisters must be disciple makers all the time, seeking out those people whom they can care for and raise up in the ways of God. Every mature believer must be a disciple maker, aiding in the spiritual growth of those younger in the Lord, for this is the way the Church is built and continues on.
The Lord has commanded us not simply to introduce people to Him and then to leave them there—we must also commit ourselves to discipling and teaching, a process of maturity that occurs as we pour our lives into another.
Read more posts on being a disciple maker on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.
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For most of us, being a disciple maker for others doesn’t easily fit into our busy lives. Have you found ways of incorporating discipleship into your life? Share about it in the comments section below.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.